A special post time of 12:55 pm will be in effect Saturday.
The five Arizona bred stakes races are as follows:
- 2nd Race: $35,000 Dwight D. Patterson Handicap, 3-year-olds and up, 1 1/16 (turf)
- 3rd Race: $35,000 Joanne Dye Stakes, 3-year-old fillies, 6 ½ furlongs
- 5th Race: $35,000 Ann Owens Distaff, 3-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, 6 furlongs
- 7th Race: $50,000 Gene Fleming Breeders’ Derby, 3-year-olds, 1 1/16
- 8th Race: $35,000 Lyman & Bradley Rollins Handicap, 3-year-olds & Up, 6 furlongs
The Dwight D. Patterson
Named after a former Turf Paradise Board of Directors and founder of the Arizona’s Cactus League Baseball, the Dwight Patterson drew a field of six headed by the ultra-tough and consistent Red Zeus.
Trained by Dan McFarlane for owner-breeder Peggy Hopwood, Red Zeus has finished second or third in his last four grass outings, including a game second to Power Ped in in the prestigious $75,000 Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile. Showing an affinity for the local lawn, the 5-year-old son of Red Sky’s, who has won over a quarter of a million dollars, has been in the money in 13 of 16 turf starts with four victories.
The Joanne Dye Stakes
The Molly Pearson-trained Myrna Lou, winner of the Arizona Breeders’ Futurity, comes off a 4 ½ length romp against $16,000 claimers. With four wins and over $100,000 earnings, the daughter of prolific sire Top Hit, is a standout in this field.
The Ann Owens Distaff
Winner of the Joanne Dye Stakes last year as a 3-year-old, Aware comes off two runner-up’s in the Cactus Flower and Chandler Stakes, Trained by Don Schnell, the 4-year-old daughter of El Roblar, has won six of 13 lifetime effforts with three of those wins coming at Turf Paradise.
Far from a one-horse race, the Kory Owens-trained Tribal Gal, a recent fourth in Santa Anita’s Las Flores (G3), has been facing far tougher in southern California. Runner-up to Tempe in this race last year, the 5-year-old daughter of Tribal Rule, has won eight of 24 efforts, including multiple stakes, for over $356,535 in earnings.
Leaving nothing to chance, Owens recently claimed Tempe at Santa Anita for $12,500. The daughter of Rocky Bar has won four of eight efforts locally.
The third place finisher in last year’s Ann Owens, Lady Jila, is also in this year’s lineup. If the speed horses, like Tribal Gal and Tempe, engage in a costly duel, the daughter of Irish sire Jila will be there with a closing punch that has accounted for nine of 27 wins locally.
The Gene Fleming Derby
This race is wide open with the Bobbie Grissom-trained Jungle Java getting a slight nod for his ever improving Beyer figures. The son of Rocky Bar that races for Double Kee LLC, has clocked three 71-plus Beyers, including a 79 Beyer when finishing second to the highly regarded Ride Hide Kowboy in the Tempe Handicap.
The Lyman & Bradley Rollins Handicap
Of the eight horses entered six are sired by Rocky Bar. So let’s take a look at the Rockys.
Has been a gem of a performer for owner Tamara Metzen and trainer David Van Winkle, winning five of 14 starts for over $101,024. Parlayed 2013 Arizona Breeders’ Futurity victory into a win in last year’s Cactus Wren Stakes. Rocking Home recently finished a game second at 24-1 to crack sprinter Castletown in the January 24th’s Swift Stakes.
Recent claim of leading trainer Robertino Diodoro at Santa Anita. A consistent in-the-money performer (12-4-1-2) on the tough southern California circuit.
Winless in his last 12 starts, the 7-year-old picks a tough assignment to get back in the win column.
Has quietly won five of 13 starts for $100,299. Won the Gene Fleming Breeders’ Derby last year and in his last start finished second to sprint ace Broadway Empire in the Coyote Handicap.
Frisky Risky: At 9-years-old the elder statesman of the field with 10 tallies in 76 efforts; has impressive record at Turf – 54-6-11-6.
At 8-years-old Espresso Springs still knows how to get the W, winning three of his last four efforts. With 13 tallies and $251,875, he leads all entrants in earnings and his local record of 31-10-9-4 is tops in this field.
The two Non-Rockys are:
Deadly Black Eagle by Top Hit and Jamaican Memories by Slew City Slew.
Deadly Black Eagle has struggled for trainer Dan McFarlane against many of the same he’ll face in the Lyman & Bradley Rollins.
Jamaican Memories: Knows how to close with a punch and will surely have a pace to unleash his late kick. Likes to show up more than win, as evidenced by his record – 51-7-6-15.